Wednesday Tracks

Our Wednesday tracks are a great way to get an in-depth learning experience with some of our excellent speakers. Participants can expect a full day of intensive study, during which they’ll dig deep into their chosen topics.

You will need to choose your Wednesday session when you register.

All Wednesday tracks are held at the Penn Stater Conference Center from 9am-5pm. The registration desk will open at 7am and a light morning snack and beverages will be available beginning at 8am. Lunch may be purchased from the registration store, from the on-site restaurant, or you may pack a lunch.

Silvopasture: Integrating Trees, Forage, & Livestock in Farm Ecosystems

Steve Gabriel, Cornell Small Farms Program/Wellspring Forest Farm

The foundational concepts of silvopasture challenge our notions of modern agriculture and land use as we know it. For centuries, farmers in North America have engaged in practices that separate the field from the forest, and even the food from the animal. Silvopasture systems integrate trees, animals, and forages and offers a number of benefits to the farmer and the environment. This workshop immerses participants in the concepts of the practice, engaging participants in assessment activities and case studies to help them define approaches specific to their landbase and farm needs.

Raising & Marketing Pastured Poultry for Profit

Jeff Mattocks, Fertrell; Susan Beal, Independent Consultant; Mike Badger, APPPA; Craig Haney, Carversville Farm Foundation

Raising chicken is easy. Raising pastured poultry that contributes to the financial health of the farm requires attention to detail, a willingness to adapt, and a supportive community. This full-day track is designed for farmers who are just beginning, as well as farmers with experience who may need help earning a return on their poultry investments. Participants will discover the details and community needed for a profitable pastured poultry business. Topics include management, health, nutrition, predators, and marketing as well as information on broilers, layers, and turkeys.

Holistic Soil Health 101

Mike Brownback, Spiral Path Farm; Dan Dalton & Franklin Egan, PASA; Kristy Borrelli, Penn State; Don Kretschmann, Kretschmann Family Farm; Gay Rogers, Hameau Farm

Healthy soils produce healthy crops. With so much information about practices that contribute to healthy soil it can be difficult to know where to begin. The Soil Health 101 track will introduce you to the fundamentals of soil health science. We will also discuss lessons learned from PASA’s Benchmark Soil Health Study, and highlight three of the participants – two vegetable farms and a dairy, to learn about their approaches to improving their soils. This session will also cover how to interpret your own soil test and translate that into a plan for greater soil health next season.

Successful Biological Orcharding

Michael Phillips, Holistic Orchard Network

Fascinating biological connections make for a healthy orchard ecosystem. All insect pests and fruit tree disease – whether fungal or bacterial – have launching points and particular timing. Healthy trees address these challenges first and foremost from within. Growers utilizing an ongoing investment in soil nutrition and biodiversity set the stage for gentler organic sprays to grow a successful fruit crop. The challenges you face at your locale will become far more manageable as you build a holistic system that keeps trees and berry plantings healthy from the get-go.